Swedish roundup: Nordea, AP funds, Solvency II, SLI
02 Jul 2012
SWEDISH - Snore Storset is taking up the reins at Nordea Life & Pensions, succeeding Johan Sidenmark, who is joining AMF, a rival pension and insurance provider, as its new chief executive.
Storset was previously chief executive at Handelsbanken Liv, another competitor to both Nordea and AMF, but joined Nordea last February as head of products and operations for Nordea Asset Management.
He assumes his new role on 1 September.
In another people move, Martin Noréus is taking over as head of the insurance and fund division at Finansinspektionen, the Swedish regulator.
He is taking over after Malin Björkmo resigned in May to work on her own business.
Noréus starts his new job on 20 August.
He has worked at the regulator since 2009 and most recently was head of the banking regulation division.
He joined the regulator in 2009 from SEB, where he was an adviser to the chief executive's office.
In other news, Peter Norman, the minister for financial markets, has urged the country's buffer funds, the AP funds, to adopt joint remuneration policies.
Norman, former head of AP7, the default fund in Sweden's defined benefit system, called the chairmen of all the AP funds for a meeting as a result of intense media scrutiny and debate over fund costs and what is seen as generous remuneration policies.
The AP funds are independent entities, and, in his role as minister, Norman is not permitted to demand any changes to their policies.
In his discussions with the boards, however, they have agreed to "harmonise" remuneration policies.
According to a statement from AP6, the work on creating joint policies for all the six funds will start immediately.
Meanwhile, the members of Sweden's Solvency II inquiry, headed by Daniel Barr, have questioned the finance department's interpretation of the regulatory issues surrounding the new capital adequacy directive.
What is more, a number of pensions providers, such as AMF and Alecta, have added their voices to the inquiry members' objections to the finance department's interpretation and the impact it could have on the industry.
The inquiry argues that the finance department's interpretation puts the occupational pensions industry and savers unnecessarily at a disadvantage compared with other EU member states.
It also claims it is not necessary to make Swedish occupational pensions subject to Solvency II rules, which is what the finance department has argued.
Instead, the inquiry believes it is technically and legally possible to re-classify the entities to ensure occupational pension providers are able to continue operating under the IORP Directive.
It says the interpretation is "crucial" for the whole of the country's occupational pensions market - including all those who are employed or are already retired, or some 5m Swedes, and 70% of the total life insurance capital of SEK2trn (€228.2bn).
In addition to Barr and other inquiry members, a number of lawyers and pensions experts from labour market participants and insurers have signed an open letter, published in news media, objecting to the finance department's views.
Lastly, Standard Life Investments has announced that its distribution partnership with Länsförsäkringar has secured more than €30m in sales in its first five months.
Länsförsäkringar - a Sweden-based, customer-owned banking and insurance group - started offering SLI's Global Absolute Returns Strategies Fund to customers in January this year.
Author: Pirkko Juntunen